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Ahead of Diwali, SC clarifies its verdict on firecracker ban

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday clarified that the directions issued by it against the bursting of firecrackers were not just for Delhi-NCR but for also all states.

The court further directed the state governments to take appropriate steps to control air/noise pollution.

The bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice M.M. Sundresh was hearing a batch of petitions filed seeking a ban on the sale, purchase, and use of firecrackers in India.

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This petitioner had filed the plea for the state of Rajasthan seeking orders from the top court to direct implementation of the previous orders.

“There seems to be a perception that your lordship’s order applies only to Delhi-NCR, though it is applicable throughout the country,” the petitioner told the court.

While hearing the case, Justice Sundresh observed that there was a wrong perception that it was only the duty of the court when it comes to environmental matters.

The court said that its earlier order must be taken note of by the state of Rajasthan. And the states must take steps to minimise air pollution, especially during the festival season. The key is to sensitise people, the court said.

Restrictions on firecrackers

In 2018, the apex court imposed a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers and later stated that the restrictions would continue and shall be duly enforced.

Cases over the ban of firecrackers began first in 2015 after a writ petition filed by the parents of a 6 month old and a 14 month old, on their behalf, for an absolute ban on use of firecrackers and all kinds of explosives during festival. The petition urged for measures to curb suffocating pollution levels in Delhi.

Several orders were passed however, a blanket ban has never been placed on fire crackers, including during October 2018 hearings.

The ruling stated that a complete ban on firecrackers would not be imposed, rather green crackers that are less polluting can be sold that too through licensed traders while restricting and placing a ban on its online sales.

The court had also penned down timings and designated places for bursting firecrackers.

The top court had on October 23, 2018 directed that people across the country can burst firecrackers from 8 PM to 10 PM only on Diwali and other festivals and allowed manufacture and sale of just “green crackers” which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals.

It had carved out an exception for Christmas and the New Year eve saying firecrackers for these occasions will be burst between 11:55 PM and 12:30 AM, since these celebrations start at midnight.

It also banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers, saying they cause “huge air, noise and solid waste problems”.

The apex court had said the noise and smoke emission limits will have to be approved by the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO).

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